Steelers 2013 Draft Class Review – Jarvis Jones

By Matthew Marczi

It has been a theme for many years that, aside from the occasional special teams contributions, rookies on the Pittsburgh Steelers, including even first-round draft picks, rarely contribute during their first season. That has been especially true over the years on defense, though less so on offense.

That pattern changed somewhat in 2013 due to a variety of circumstances, both foreseen and unforeseen, as many rookies—even undrafted players—got a good chunk of playing time on both sides of the ball. Therefore, there’s more to go on than usual when speaking about how their rookie seasons went.

Player: Jarvis Jones

Draft Status: 1st round (17th overall)

Snaps: 646

Starts: 8

When the Steelers released James Harrison and drafted Jarvis Jones, there were immediate ideas of a player breaking the mold and becoming an instant starter on defense. That seemingly unlikely notion was only fostered by practice reports of frequent batted passes and forced fumbles.

Some of that even showed up during the preseason, although some of the praise was excessive—for example, the accolades received for having been the man nearest the ball on the ground when a running back fumbled the ball all by himself with nobody else around.

Jones, in fact, likely would have been the opening day starter had he not gotten injured in the final preseason game after the runback on an interception, which was later overturned.

Instead, Jason Worilds started at right outside linebacker, but Jones still played nearly half the game. He was installed in the starting lineup by the second game, however, and he had two solid games against the Cincinnati Bengals and the Chicago Bears.

Success as a pass rusher was hard to come by, but he generally played the run well, especially so against the Bears. He frequently crossed the face of the blocking tight end in order to penetrate into the backfield, and he ended up making several stops in the running game in the process.

The next two games didn’t go so well, and he ended up suffering a concussion against the New York Jets. He did generate some pressure late in the Jets game, and one hurry helped influence a poor pass near the goal line that was intercepted.

When Jones returned from his concussion, missing one game, he found that he’d lost his starting job to Worilds, as Jones had been struggling with his assignments, but after LaMarr Woodley injured his calf the first time, he was back starting.

The Steelers had him rushing the passer more, but it wasn’t accomplishing much, and he had very poor success in a pair of divisional games late in the season. While it never fully came around, however, he did begin to generate some pressure on a more consistent basis in his last few games.

There’s no doubt that Jones made some strides as a rookie from the beginning of the season to the end. He finished the year with perhaps his best game against the Cleveland Browns, though his highlight of the year must have been a batted pass on a two-point conversion attempt.

Jones knows that he has to get stronger for next season—he said so himself. But it will be interesting to see if he starts the year taking the field with the other starters. Woodley is still under contract and nearly prohibitively expensive to part with. Meanwhile, Worilds came on strong in the second half of the season and team president Art Rooney II mentioned him by name as a free agent they would like to keep.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • srdan

    Great summary. Especially the note about his finish.

    He was thrown into action early in the season, and didn’t deserve to be in there. That came at a cost of lack of performance and probably some resentment among teammates. Then he went on to earn playing time. By the end of the year, he was a dependable starter. His comfort started to show and his confidence grew. It’s a damn shame the season ended vs Cleveland.

    As a celebrated SEC passrusher, and a huge void left on our team, we as fans expected a lot more stats. Listening to Kiper and others, we had a double digit sack rookie. He came up well short of that, and that left us questioning his talent. Which is fair. But I don’t question his heart, work ethic and integrity. And players with those 3 things tend to do great things in the NFL. I have a jersey already and am expecting a big step toward a pro bolwer this year following a great off season of strength and pass rushing training.

  • Ken

    He might have gotten off to a slower start than we all wanted, but this kid has the quickness and explosiveness to be special. Hit the weights and he will be fine.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Work ethnics are a tricky statement. Does being a gym rat defines as one? Or a guy who spend hours in film room? Ziggy Hood and Jarvis Jones fits as one or other. As much I want to praise Jarvis’ motivation, it seem as if his work ethnics are misplaced. Hopefully he use this off-season to fix one main thing; conditioning. Played like he’s athletically behind, body weren’t ready for NFL workload. If he continues talking about working on strength and doesn’t back it up next season we will know he’s not that motivated and that is why I hated the pick- loved him, hated the pick because I knew he’d get early PT and doesn’t get time to build his body up and regain confidence because I haven’t seen that.

  • DrakePirate

    i think his chances of ever being a pro bowler are 50/50 at best now … i think we all should just consider being happy if he just turns out to be a solid and productive starter for many years ….

  • DrakePirate

    Haven’t seen anything from him this past year to think he will be special … i will be more than happy if he turns into a solid starter … maybe he will be special just can’t say that I’m confident from what he showed on the field so far !

  • LayDownTheHammer

    #1 thing I’m going to ask Latrobers about this summer is how JJ’s weight is. High correlator of success in Year 2 for him, plain and simple.

  • charles

    AB came into his second year in great condition given his position. He has transformed that into one of the NFL ‘s most reliable recievers, a goto guy. Jarvis could use strength fitness. This would give him the bull rush weapon besides his speed rush. Didn’t Mr.Harrison get cut multiple times by the Ravens and Steelers? Jones has one year of playing time under his belt and a ton of promise. He can make it happen. He just needs to talk to AB…..

  • kamil

    Hes a rookie, calm down!!!